With Q1 in the books, we turn the spotlight on catalog activity, which has accounted for 68% of the U.S. market YTD. That’s slightly up from the average of the last few years, due to a dearth of big new releases thus far in 2021.

Only six of the Top 50 catalog tracks are examples of the 20th-century classic-rock standards we associate with the term; the vast majority are recurrents (in radio lingo) from top-streaming contemporary artists released during the last five years. The catalog champ turns out to be Republic’s Post Malone, with five entries, including #1 “Sunflower.”

Most of the Top 50 entries either arrived during the streaming era, were reignited because of social media (Fleetwood Mac, The Neighbourhood) or are perennials (Journey, Eagles) that gained traction during the early days of streaming. It’s worth noting that most consumers don’t delete tracks from their playlists; instead, they keep adding to them. Hence, modern-day standards like “Sunflower” will likely continue their runs in perpetuity, just as Dark Side of the Moon did in the olden days, as fans bought it on vinyl, cassette, CD and now on vinyl again.

The Top 50 is just the tip of a ginormous iceberg consisting of 40m+ tracks, which is why catalog marketshare is dominated by iconic labels with decades of hits in their coffers—Interscope, Atlantic, Capitol, Warner, Columbia and RCA. Relatively new label Republic is tied with Warner at #4 thanks to its remarkable chart success over the last decade as it rapidly builds its own catalog, which will be mined by future generations.

UMG has a 38% overall catalog share YTD, with the bulk of the group’s music handled by catalog division UMe, led by Bruce Resnikoff (pictured).